Hale Village Community Land Trust Limited
Minutes of a Special General Meeting of the Members of the Community Land Trust
(“the CLT”) held at Hale Village Hall on 21st June 2018 at 7 p.m.
Present: Bill and Brenda Templeton and Robert and Cylvean Aitken-Sykes, the four Directors of the CLT, and twelve new members. A thirteenth new member arrived at 9 p.m. at the end of the meeting.
Apologies: Apologies had been received from Sloan Hickman, Alison Bussey, Richard Downard, Robert Trim, Christina Vickery and John Williamson.
1. Bill welcomed the new members. He confirmed that they had all completed application forms indicating that they supported the objectives of the CLT but he understood that there were differing views in the village and he asked that if anyone had had second thoughts they should say so in which case they would be welcome to stay for the meeting but would be unable to vote. There were no members who wished to change their minds.
Bill proceeded to distribute the Share Certificates to the new Members and also a complete list of the 23 Members of the CLT. It was agreed that a decision as to the frequency of meetings would be left until the end of the meeting when Members would have a better idea of what was going on. Bill then confirmed the following with regard to the governance of the CLT:
(a) The liability of members was limited to the value of their shares in the CLT.
(b) The shares are not transferable by Members.
(c) The Rules provide that the Directors are to be appointed annually by the Members and Bill confirmed that the four present Directors were appointed at the Inaugural Special General Meeting of the CLT held on 3rd February 2018.
(d) The Rules of the CLT can be changed but any changes must be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority. Bill confirmed that there had been a choice as to whether to set up the CLT as a charity or as a non charitable CLT. It would have been more complicated to set it up as a charity and the objects of the CLT would have been restricted to housing so it was set up as non-charitable. However, it can be changed into a charity later if the Members wished and the Wickham CLT had done this after starting as a non-charitable CLT. Their reason for this was to access funds only available to a charity but at that time Community Land Trusts were very new and this may not be a problem now.
2. The next item on the agenda was a summary of the CLT’s position and policy and Bill outlined this as follows:
(a) The CLT Directors generally accept the result of the independent Housing Needs Survey issued in February 2018 which reflects the result of the 2008 Housing Needs Survey and the Parish Plan Questionnaire (housing section) all of which confirmed the need for affordable homes.
The format of the independent Housing Needs Survey, although being questioned by certain people who do not like the result, follows the format adopted and accepted generally. and the Directors saw no good reason for the Village of Hale to require different evidence than elsewhere. Bill explained that the Government’s policy to build more houses means that at the present time the Village is at risk of a Developer being able to get planning permission on appeal unless there are proposals for the housing need to be met locally. At this point Bill asked Robert, who is the chair of the Planning Committee of the Parish Council and has more experience of planning matters, to explain. Robert first confirmed that the view which had been expressed at a Parish Council meeting that the CLT could proceed without going through the planning process was wrong as the parishioner who made this point had overlooked entirely the fact that national parks had been excluded from this rule. It is therefore necessary for the CLT to go through all the usual planning processes. Robert then summarised the process whereby local villages and authorities needed to have in place up to date local plans which catered for housing need because if there was no such local plan in place a planning inspector would be obliged to grant planning permission on appeal by a developer. The fear expressed in the village that if the CLT obtained permission this would form a precedent for commercial developers was not a valid fear and indeed the opposite was the case because the grant of permission to the CLT would demonstrate that the need was being met locally and the argument for granting permission on an appeal would be weakened by this.
Bill thanked Robert for his explanation. He went on to confirm that the CLT does now need to demonstrate the need by getting more people to complete application forms to express an interest in any houses the CLT builds so that we have a list of interested people who would qualify as applicants. Four such applications had been received to date.
(b) Robert confirmed that as the CLT is a Trust any housing provided by the CLT will not be subject to the right to buy and will remain an asset of the village which is the main object of the exercise. Local Authority housing is subject to the tenant’s right to buy and there was a discussion in government not long ago about extending the right to buy to Housing Associations.
(c) Bill then proposed a formal Resolution of the Members that no individual project of the CLT will be advanced unless it is first agreed by a majority vote of the members of the CLT attending the meeting at which it was being considered. This resolution was passed unanimously.
(d) There followed the consideration by the Members of the two sites which the CLT at present has in mind as follows:
(i) The site at Folly Hill paddock. This site is available but is the subject of some opposition to the project as infilling on Hale Purlieu. The argument is that this could be a precedent for further development and Hale Purlieu is regarded by many people in the village as a special area. The suggestion that it could be a precedent is not a valid argument because it would be an exception affordable housing site for planning which could not be applied by a developer. There followed a discussion as to what is “infilling” in a village such as Hale. The view was expressed that the building of two dwellings on the paddock at Folly Hill could hardly be called “infilling” because the site was well separated from other properties and it was therefore an ideal site as it would affect few if any other residents of the village. There was a discussion as to whether the erection of two affordable houses on the paddock would be detrimental to the value of the next door properties and it was felt that it would not have any effect on the value of those properties.
(ii) The site at Carters Close owned by New Forest District Council. This is getting less opposition but is not at present available. Bill confirmed that he had been invited to a meeting with two officers of the New Forest District Council who were keen to consider this as a possibility and had asked the CLT to put forward a formal request for the transfer of the site to the CLT. They wished us to set out all the arguments and reasons as to why it was a good idea and to give an indication of our plans for the site and for management of any dwellings built on the site. He and Robert were working on this and would be submitting the formal request and supporting documentation as soon as possible.
Bill asked the Members which site they wished the CLT to concentrate on and after some discussion it was proposed by Robert that we should proceed with both sites. This was put to a vote by the Members. 16 Members voted in favour and one Member voted against and the proposal was carried.
4. Bill then gave a summary of the timescale for action by the CLT as follows:
(a) The Bank Account is already in the process of being opened although this is not proving as easy as expected.
(b) We will proceed straight away to make formal application to the New Forest District Council for the transfer of the Carters Close site. This needs the following:
(i) Confirmation of our reasons for thinking that the CLT is the appropriate body to develop the site rather than New Forest District Council ie No right to buy, CLT will raise finance, will be managed by the village (Robert has extensive experience in managing tenanted properties), village already runs the village hall with committee membership in the Hale Parish Council, village inhabitants are knowledgeable people some of whom are already involved in the Woodgreen Community Shop which is a similar organisation to the CLT.
(ii) A detailed assessment of how it would work, outline the arrangements for sub committees for allocations and property management.
(iii) Production of a draft policy for allocations. Bill has already prepared an initial draft of this based on other information from other CLTs
(c) Bill confirmed that we have a grant from the National CLT Network covering the cost of another session of Technical Advice from a CLT Technical officer who may be able to advise us on the Housing needs Survey, and on the application to New Forest District Council and also on finance and management. Bill will contact the Technical Adviser and make arrangements to take his advice.
(d) We will proceed with an application for a grant to cover planning consultants fees initially for the Folly Hill site but hopefully also for the Carters Close site if and when this becomes available.
5. The next item on the agenda was the appointment of a Sub Committee for allocations of properties and for the preparation of a waiting list. Bill had in mind this committee being chaired by Cylvean and he asked her whether she would be willing. Cylvean agreed and was joined on this committee by Tina Vickery (who had asked Chris Fairgrieves to volunteer her) and Kay Smith.
6. The next item was the proposed appointment of a Finance Sub-Committee to deal with grant applications. Bill had had some experience on this subject and indicated his willingness to chair this committee. There were no volunteers forthcoming for this particular committee so that finance will at present be Bill’s responsibility with the support of the other Directors.
7. The next item on the agenda was the appointment of a Property Management Sub-Committee to agree procedure and documentation for this aspect. Bill suggested that in view of his experience in the management of leasehold properties Robert was the most suitable Director to chair this committee. He was joined on this committee by Chris Fairgrieves and Catherine Whitmarsh.
8. The next item on the agenda was consideration of the Hale Protection Group Web Site and the inclusion of the CLT documentation on this. Bill projected the web site onto the screen and Chris Fairgrieves, who set up the web site, showed the details. Chris confirmed that the site was set up to provide an access to relevant documentation in the public domain and it was not really a suitable site for a particular organisation like the CLT. It was agreed that the CLT needs its own web site. Bill asked if there were any Members who were into web site formation. Paula Downard confirmed that her son Tom is in business doing this and she agreed to ask Tom whether he would be willing to deal with it on behalf of the CLT.
9. The next item on the agenda was whether we need a logo for the CLT. It was agreed that a logo was needed. Bill produced the picture of the little house which Simon Smith was working on as a suggestion and also confirmed that Sloan Hickman had suggested a logo similar to the National CLT Network’s but with a circle of caring hands around it instead of words. Bill asked whether there was an artistic Member willing to work on this. Frances Maynard was suggested for this and she agreed to consider it and come up with some ideas.
10. Any other business. James Grigg asked what the criteria for applications for housing would be. Bill produced the form which he had prepared and confirmed that he had drafted the initial allocations policy from examples by other CLTs. The policy would be finalised after detailed consideration by the sub-committee for allocations but in the meantime anyone who had a connection with the village and who thought they might be eligible should make a preliminary application to get themselves on the list. A detailed application would be required in due course.
There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9 p.m.